- neural precursor cells
early stage cells that give rise to mature neurons and glial support cells; often referred to as neural stem cells
part of the neuron; thin tubes that radiate from the cell body. They come in two types: axons and dendrites
neural precursor cells midway in development between a stem cell and a fully developed neuron
- neurofibrillary tangles
are tangled bundles of fibers inside neurons. Like plaques, they are considered one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease, although they also occur in other neurological disorders. Tangles mainly consist of tau protein. By disrupting the structure of the neuron and disabling the transport of nutrients, tangles cause neurons to die. Plaques can induce tangles, but that is only one way in which tangles can form. Nicotine is, apparently, another.
creation of new neurons; common in young brains, it has only recently been found to occur in adult brains, and then only in specific regions.
are one of two broad classes of nerve cells in the brain (the other class is the glia). According to the neuron doctrine, the neuron is the fundamental functional unit of the brain, the information-processing unit. However, recent evidence suggests that the glia, once thought to simply provide support, may also play a role in the work of the brain. There are about 100 billion neurons in the brain, but this is only about 10% of the number of brain cells.
a messenger chemical in the brain; it is through neurotransmitters that neurons communicate with each other. Examples are GABA, glutamate, acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine.
a molecule in the brain that normally promotes the growth and development of neurons and other brain cells but can also kill them, depending on how and where they bind to a cell. The family includes nerve growth factor (NGF) and BDNF.
is a chemical agonist called N-methyl-D-aspartate, a synthetic amino acid derivative. This chemical mimics the action of glutamate at a specific type of receptor called the NMDA receptor, without affecting other glutamate receptors. The NMDA receptor is thought to play a crucial role in synaptic plasticity, and thus learning and memory.
- NMDA receptor
a type of glutamate receptor that is responsive to NMDA; activation of these is thought to be required for the initial synaptic strengthening that occurs during learning, although inhibition of these receptors, and activation of another (mGlu receptor) is then necessary.
a neurotransmitter synthesized from dopamine
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (examples: ibuprofen and naproxen). Some of these have been found to lower levels of amyloid beta-42.
Glossary of neurological terms
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